Saturday, August 9, 2008


Occasionally i would like to post artwork from the different periods, mostly just so you can enjoy them, but also to engage the philosophy and theology behind them. I've chosen to begin with this one by Vincent Van Gogh. To those that do not know the name of this particular work, you would assume something like old boots, but in actuality it is titled "self portrait". Vincent began his career as both an artist and a pastor. Many biographies site his religious zeal, but once in practice, the pressures from and hypocrisy of the establishment tormented his life. It was during this period, shortly before he left the ministry, that he painted his "self portrait". With this piece of art, i think, began a whole new genre of art.... expressionism. No longer would art try to idealize or realize nature around us, but it would express the emotions we felt as we live within nature. This painting has a poignant philosophical and theological statement, that sometimes we feel as if ministry and this world tramples all over us. Though i believe Van Gogh had a negative statement to make in this work (he did leave the ministry and, most believe, eventually committed suicide), the Christian can look at this and bask in the knowledge that this depiction adequately evaluates the humility and baseness of ministry to a dying world. In summary, i ask if this same portrait could be applied to the earthly ministry of the incarnate God himself.

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